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Trade – International Student Strategy

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 6 June 2022

Tags: Trade, Education, China

Ms O'CONNOR - Premier, action 9 of the Tasmanian Trade Strategy Annual Action Plan of 2021 reads:

Leverage Tasmania's strengths through the Asian market engagement plan, marketing campaigns and trade advocates to promote Tasmania as an international education destination of choice.

How do you reconcile this with the fact that UTAS's current approach is to wind back its reliance on international students, particularly from mainland China? It looks very much like the government strategy is at complete odds with that of UTAS.

Mr ROCKLIFF - We've actually got a very proud history of attracting international students and supporting them as well. International students help meet demand within the employment market and fill current and future skill shortages. They have a positive impact on Tasmania economically, socially, culturally and of course these have flow-on benefits for tourism, business linkages, jobs, and population growth.

In 2019-20 the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment estimated that international students contributed some $673 million to the Tasmanian economy. Study Tasmania within the Department of State Growth implements the strategy for the sector and key achievements in the last 12 months include hosting and participating in a range of virtual events to continue to maintain and build Tasmania's profile in key markets.

Ms O'CONNOR - I just wanted your thoughts on the fact that it is in contradiction to UTAS's stated policy that it wants to rely less on the international student market.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I will allow UTAS to talk for themselves. What we are doing is hosting familiarisation trips for education agents to showcase Tasmania as a study destination and connecting students and communities through the enhanced student experience grants program, which provides grants of up to $5000 to deliver activities that enhance student experience and help connect students with the Tasmanian community. Various initiatives which aim to support student employability include the launching career coaching modules in collaboration with the Migrant Resources Centre Tasmania, incorporating elements on how to network, write resumes and prepare for interviews, and launching an online jobs portal to connect international students. It also supports schools, vocational education and training and TasTAFE.

When it comes to education providers, including the University of Tasmania, TasTAFE and government independent schools also have accommodation options for international students. I am advised that Study Tasmania within the Department of State Growth has engaged international education consultancy Edified to undertake a survey of international students studying within Tasmanian institutions to be better understand their needs, particularly as it relates to supporting students trying to find accommodation. This work will be completed by September 2022 and will help inform any future approaches in this area.

Ms O'CONNOR - Are you going to have a chat with UTAS about their different strategy?

Mr ROCKLIFF - I will talk to the University of Tasmania and ensure we discuss that.